Day 18 – Bercanos to Mansillas 26.7km

We woke up to a fantastic array of breakfast foods including: cereals, yoghurt, fruit, biscuits, bread, spreads and hot drinks. Now this may sound like just a typical breakfast but this is the biggest range of breakfast options we have been given so far on the Camino, and best of all, it did not cost a thing. We ate as much as we could knowing that this may be the only time on the Camino we will have this much breakfast. We bid farewell to our hosts and were out the door by 7.30am. Both of us agreed that we felt mentally refreshed from such an incredible stay at the simple accommodation which in turn, made us feel physically fantastic.

When we reached the 2km marked, we noticed Jung (Japanese pilgrim) rushing hurriedly back towards our direction. We’d assumed she’d left something behind but found out that she forgot to pay for her stay. We explained that it was a voluntary donation, but she felt really bad and decided to walk all the way back to give her donation. It just goes to show that honesty and generosity is still a top priority for many people which was heartwarming to see.

The first 7km was a very easy, flat path leading to the town of El Burgo Ranero where we had a quick apple break and progressed onto the next section, the killer 13km alongside the highway with nothing but barren land to admire. We felt more positive about this stretch of nothing compared to the one a couple of days ago. We were mentally in the zone and walked at our individual pace. By 11:00am we found a nice picnic bench and enjoyed a lunch under some shade. By this stage I was starting to feel the beginnings of a strong ache in my left little toe. I took my boot off and found it was a little bit swollen. So being the innovator that I think I am, I rolled up some toilet paper and taped it to the bottom of my orthotics near where the little toe sits, hoping this would provide a bit more cushioning. This did help for the first few kilometres after lunch but I soon noticed the pain becoming progressively worse. About a kilometre before the next town I just had to take the boot off and put on one of Jason’s thongs (flip flops) which gave me great relief, but that meant I was walking a kilometre with a thong on one foot and a boot on the other. It was a rather comical sight thinking back it.

When we arrived in the town of Religios, we had to figure out our plan of whether to continue on to the the planned town which was over 6km away or stay here for the night. I thought there must be something else I could do to ease the pain. So with Jason’s help, we created a toe separator using some toilet paper and tape and miraculously I was almost pain-free! I actually managed to get to the next town at a normal pace which I was very pleased about. During the last 2km we bumped into a couple of American sisters from Seattle, Erica and Laura, who had both quit their jobs for the Camino. Unfortunately they have had several bouts of the cold so have had to take almost a week’s worth of rest. Hopefully their bodies heal up soon.

In the evening we found ourselves at a supermarket and enjoyed a delicious antipasto platter for dinner. Now we are super thirsty and will probably have to get up every half an hour to pee!

Total cost for today:
– Breakfast: Free
– Lunch: €2 Turkey and cream cheese baguette
– Dinner: €5 Antipasto platter
– Snacks:€2 Chocolate and apples
– Accommodation: €5

Total cost per person: €14

Til next time
Ann & Jason x

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